Personality change

I’m worried that my personality is changing. I know this can happen to people who have MS. I find myself unable to not speak the truth (as I see it), even if it means upsetting people. I just don’t understand it, as I’ve always been the complete opposite, and have probably been guilty of appeasing people and not being honest. I feel scared by the lack of control I have over what I say. I’m not aggressive with it, and I always apologise if I have upset someone. I feel most unlike myself though. I dread becoming one of those intolerant, acerbic, brutal people. Ive always been so gentle. Has anyone else experienced this? I have SPMS. I hope I have never upset anyone on this forum. So sorry if I have. I don’t come on here very often though.

Dear Mhairi,

I ‘replied’ to your email 'cos no-one else had. It reminds me of times we used to spend in the pub at university (in first year psychology with people of different ‘locations’) - you are very honest but maybe too honest (or maybe not - maybe people are just lazy or have nothing to say?) I hope that you find a solution and that your SPMS doesn’t give you too much grief. I myself have RRMS (at least I think so) and I have had it for over 13 years - my Doctor says that he is ‘mystified’ by MS and his brother has it and he thinks that he will get it one day! And that is that. I was at one time a company director and educated at a fee-paying school. At one time I used to keep fit and run ‘the mile’ - I can barely ‘walk’ now and I am glad that I can type because I used to get awards for my writing. All I can say is that ‘Mhairi’ is a nice name and I have an aunt called that and (although she comes from Scotland) she is retired now in New Zealand. Try not to worry about a personality change - my wife has been all around the world - people are strange but that’s just the way human beings are - you are what you are and I like you!

Marcus. x. (not sexual, just ‘friendly’. I’m married, have one nine year old daughter and am 56 years old)

Hi Mhairi,

From what you say, it doesn’t sound as if it’s a genuine personality change - as in pathological.

Perhaps, even, you are being MORE yourself? If you’ve always walked on eggshells, often concealing your own feelings and concerns, to avoid upsetting people, maybe serious illness has meant you don’t have the energy for this pretence, or just that you have a different perspective now, about what’s important, and pandering to everyone else can’t always be the top priority?

As you say, you’re not deliberately upsetting anyone, so perhaps it’s not necessarily a bad thing? Perhaps they need to hear some of these things you would have refrained from saying in the past? Smiling sweetly and saying nothing doesn’t always improve things, because they remain unaware of your true feelings, while you get increasingly resentful that they haven’t noticed by themselves.


Oh, and P.S, I think either you or someone else has posted about “MS personality” before, and I must say, I strongly object to the idea that there’s some kind of generalised personality, common to all people with MS.

Occupational therapists who think of everyone with MS as “difficult” shouldn’t be in that job, because they’re clearly not looking at the individual, and just have some crude stereotype of how everyone is.

It’s clear, even from reading these forums, that we have a huge range of personalities here! They don’t all sound like the same person, albeit using slightly different words. So I think it’s quite insulting and dehumanising (not by you, but by the folks that came up with it) to say there’s an “MS Personality”.

I do think people facing serious adversity will have certain characteristics in common. Perhaps it’s what used to be known as “strength of character”? A shame, these days, that some just see it as “difficult”.



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im having the same problem and it scares me. Im falling out with people that iv known for years particuly my best freind and flatt mate. Im having some rarther nasty thoughts towords him and in some casses violent thoughts. I have no intenshions of putting them into action but iv tried talking to him about what is happening and he is unwilling to take me seriously if he listens at all. He seams unwilling to change the things he dose that are now realy upsetting and annoying me and causing these thoughts it has now reached the stage that im looking for a new house despite loving where i live and how thing are at the moment i probable wont talk to him again once i have moved. I suppose i nead to add that i have never been a violant person at all in my life and in the past have been seriously beaten up due to not fighting back.

I’m with Tina on this. I do not believe that there is any such thing as an MS Personality

What I do know it that there is a general human tendency to put labels on people. It make it easier for the label user to know what they are talking about (usually when they don’t have a clue what they are talking about). Quite often it is used to de-humanise opponents so that they stop treating them as people. The armed forces do this all the time. Most countries tend to do this to another country (I have heard Americans telling Polish jokes, and been in Poland listening to Russian jokes).

So, the MS Personality is just a way of saying “that person has MS” as if it explained everything about them. Yes, MS may alter an individual personality (or an individual’s personality), but does anyone want to even try to predict how it will alter? Just think of the young person who is in a wheelchair at 25 - and try to imagine what the effect on their personality will be of knowing that they are there for the rest of their lives. Soon, it will be the “Parkinson’s personality” even though Parkinson’s disease is fairly well known. After that, the “Cancer personality” perhaps? Or, hearing a comment like “Well what do you expect, they wear glasses”.

MS personality? Yeah, right! If I heard someone using the expression in conversation, I guess I could put a label on them quite quickly!


I am having the same thing happen to me. Some of it is MS and like you, I do wondered if a lesion has affected me somehow.

But as Tina says; some of it is not having the patience to deal with things people say anymore. I have spent my life appeasing people and making excuses for their behaviour. I have always been a ‘nice’ person and do still try and stay sympathetic, especially with people in my local branch who are much worse than I am.

It is understandable if you have always kept your temper and kept your opinions to yourself that you aren’t always able to do this. Sometimes words come out of my mouth and I don’t feel I have any control over them.

I must admit to taking anti depressants these days and they do help.

Take care



I’m relieved i’ve read this posts.I’ve had exactly the same problem for the last couple of months .I’ve always been the so called boring, responsible and politicaly correct one and that completly changed.I started swearing (something I almost never did) and things were flying out of my mouth.Not that they were lies or anything but they were things i would’nt really say not to hurt people and they were quite abrupt. It was like I had lost common sence and manners. I also had some very violent and aggressive ideas that were just the opposite of me.I never have been involved in any type of fighting in my life or even consider it.

But that all changed , and concidence or not after my last steroids.As u all probably know they tend to make u impatiente/agressive, so I lost my temper twice(againg not really me), both ppl actually directly involved in my two worse personal fears/Scenarios of things that can happend because of what the ms is doing to me and it went away.I became not only me but with the added bonus of being quite calm and relaxed, so I think with me it was all that was bottled up inside that was trying to get out and when I just exploded at those 2 ppl it just gave me such relive that it all went away.

Like u said no too ppl are the same but because the way u described urself reminded me so much of me I just though my experience can help, if not at least u will know u r not alone


I am having counselling because of this problem with personality with MS.

What we believe it is, is the PAIN.

I get so tired of being in pain, I dont have my usual patience anymore, so when people talk rubbish to me, or lie to me instead of having the energy and the patience to just listen and not react, I REACT, and tell them they are talking rubbish or lying lol.

I find it hard with my hubby as I just want to SCREAM at him sometimes.

I do think its down to the pain and fatigue, which makes it feel as though our personality has changed, it hasnt its just our intolerance to things that have shortened.


i totally agree, being tired, doing to much, being in pain, being left exhausted for anybody will and can cause them to be short tempered and lack patience in dealing with other people and what we perceive as there faults. It also can effect your decision making too. Dealing with the consequence’s of our actions is the biggest learning curve and I do believe we can retrain ourselves by firstly dealing with our pain and fatigue first. The worst scenario would be if we did not recognise the consequence’s of our actions and bull doze our way through our lives, me thinks this would leave a person very isolated and lonely. Gosh this is heavy stuff…

On a lighter note, its nearly lunch and there is a pie in my fridge with my name on it.

Catherine xx

I’m so pleased someone has posted thus and it’s on the first page I see. I’ve thought for a while my personality is changing, I was always so happy go lucky, now I could bite a nail in half most of the time! I argue with friends and family all the time, I’m very intolerant of too much noise which leads to me just screaming out like some mad woman, its quite worrying …

I’ve changed since my diagnosis. Not necessarily for better or worse just different. Something so life changing is going to change people.

Add to that the added stress MS brings, pain, disability and a whole box of other unpleasant stuff and its understandable our emotions are charged at times. Yes MS can cause mood changes at a biological level but I would imagine for most its just living with the disease, dealing with the loss and all the uncertainty it brings. I cant even remember what I spent my time worrying about before as when MS came along it blew everything else out of the water!

We are all responsible for our actions though and need to learn how to manage our feelings in an appropriate way. I had counselling for a while and it was a safe place to vent and gather my thoughts.


One of my friends has a son who used to put on quizzes at the local MS respite care home. Lots of the people there would argue about the answers he was announcing as correct. It was very noticeable, particularly since he never got anything like this when he did similar quizzes at retirement homes. He had never heard of an ‘MS personality’ (I hadn’t either until reading this thread), he just noticed that some of the people with MS were very quick to argue.

I’d put myself in that category but I have been like that since I was a child - it is not an effect of having MS, for me. It does make me very impatient with neurologists who know less than I do …

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Personality change+ Ms – I have had Ms for some time – diagnosed in ’96, but had it well before this. I have always been direct + up to the point, when I want to say something I say it, however I have always considered this as my strength. However over the 2 years my Ms has become more aggressive (and so have I). Simultaneously I am aware that I keep on making mistakes, I mean really stupid mistakes, which has turned me into a walking apology. ‘I am sorry! – I am sooo sorry!’ The combination of severe sight impairment and short-term memory loss has somewhat inevitably changed my personality. The Ms forces all of us to deal with an enormous amount of frustrating changes constantly happening within ourselves. A thing that was easy yesterday has become all mighty difficult today. I don’t know whom I am dealing with? Who is this stupid person? – Well of course it changes the ‘me’ I have known for a long time! And I don’t like the new ‘me’, but somehow we have to get on…Ms personality? Again I can only talk about myself + the Ms’sers I know (not many). I think the Ms attacks people who find themselves in difficult situations, people who take on too much, people who are very passionate about something and maybe do not succeed as much as they think they should do, it’s when high ambitions fall flat on their nose. You try and try again…you do it as well as possible…and hen, if you have the disposition, the Ms attacks.

I completely agree with everything you said up to here (was nodding in rueful recognition, in fact!) until this bit…

Ask Everyman/woman on the Clapham omnibus whether he sees himself as a person who has to deal with very difficult situations, is inclined to take on too much, who is very passionate about something and who maybe does not succeed as much as he thinks he should do, and pretty much everyone will surely say, ‘Yes! that’s me!’ EVERYBODY thinks they’re that sort of person (even if their friends and family wouldn’t agree). I’m not sure that MSers are any different. smiley



Hi i used to be Goldengirl62 but for some reason couldnt get back onto the MS forum, so changed to 63 lol…so i have suffered this on and off for a few years. (You can see my original post on here lol).

The worse thing for me now is the NOISE intolerance. I hate it, and it drives me screaming out of the way in my head i cant stand it, like a knife going through me…its very scary…also i still get irritated and irrational and fed up I do think a lot of it is the pain and fatigue we have to cope with. xxx

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